September 29, 2011

A Sting on the Lips

At the end of each season, there always seems to be one ingredient, one fruit or vegetable that I had but precious little of.  I'm sad to see the season change, knowing that with it goes some food that I'll have to wait another 9 months for.  For me, this summer, it was corn.

So obvious.  Corn.  It's probably why I passed it up all the time, thinking that I would just make that *next time*.  I can count on one hand the number of times corn made it onto my plate this summer and that's just plain sad.  With butter and salt or hot sauce and lime, a freshly picked ear of corn can do no wrong.  I'm a snob, I like the fresh stuff best.  I'll use frozen in a pinch but never commercially canned - the flavor can't hope to compare.

As summer was winding down and the zucchini from my CSA was piling up, I ran across this fantastic looking recipe over on shutterbean.  Everything besides the feta and corn were already on hand so I called it destiny and added a few things to my shopping list.  

The pizza was everything you'd want in a summer meal; fresh, light but filling, served perfectly with a big salad full of tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.  But you see that jalapeno right there, right in the foreground, perched precariously on the tip of the slice?  WHOA.  It was a sneaky little pepper, setting both mine and D's lips to tingling and burning and then burning a whole lot more.  I'm usually better about that, testing a just sliced pepper for heat, but I didn't this time.  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but jalapenos usually underwhelm me with their heat.  Half the time I buy them and they are as harmless as a bell pepper.  I just assumed this one was harmless too.

But you know what happens when you assume...

You get stinging lips and watery eyes.

A little more feta and lime juice and a few glasses of water later we finished it up, though I admitted defeat and picked the remaining peppers off my slice.  Until next time, jalapenos, until next time.

Corn Zucchini and Feta Pizza (with Cilantro and Lime)
adapted from shutterbean

Waste no time, and go buy some of the last ears of corn and a zucchini from the dwindling summer squash (if you're not too sick of it yet), this pizza is calling your name.  If you have a favorite pizza dough recipe, use it.  When I'm feeling less lazy and have a little foresight to start the dough the night before, I'm a fan of the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but this time I just grabbed some premade dough from Trader Joe's.  Whatever.  And please, do yourself a favor and check the heat of the jalapeno before you go tossing it on your pizza with reckless abandon.  Your tastebuds will thank you.

4 servings

pizza dough
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen, cooked or uncooked)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta
1 big handful bunch cilantro, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper
juice of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Put zucchini & corn in a bowl, toss with olive oil and set aside.

Oil a rimmed cookie sheet liberally with olive oil. Put the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out towards the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then proceed. Continue pressing and stretching until you reach your desired size/thickness (remembering that it will puff up a bit more while baking).

Top the pizza dough with zucchini, corn, red onion, jalapeno and scatter feta and torn cilantro leaves on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Evenly squeeze lime juice on top of the pizza and serve with fresh cilantro, a little more feta and red pepper flakes for added heat.

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